Tag Archives: education

Bradford Uni joins the USS pensions dispute

UCU pickets at Bradford Uni - photo Iain Dalton

UCU pickets at Bradford Uni – photo Iain Dalton

UCU members at Bradford were one of four universities which joined the dispute over the USS pensions scheme in on Tuesday 6th March.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

Staff here had to re-ballot after narrowly missing out on reaching the 50% turnout threshold imposed by the Tories latest anti-union laws.

UCU members told us that picketing numbers were up on previous strikes. Many staff were incensed that management is intending to impose 100% wage deductions for staff who won’t reschedule lectures.

One picket told us “They’re trying to deny our right to strike. While management say our strike is penalising students, this deduction is effectively locking us out on non-strike days.”

Some students joined the picket lines, chanting “What do we want… pensions, when do we want them… when we retire” This reflects a fear amongst young people that if existing pensions schemes aren’t defended now, then what will exist in the future?

Socialist Party members got a warm reception from pickets, grateful to welcome support on a cold windy day. We will continue to build support for strike over the next few weeks.


Lecturers Strike at Bradford Uni for Fair Pay

Socialist Party joins UCU members on the picket line at Bradford Uni - photo Iain Dalton

Socialist Party joins UCU members on the picket line at Bradford Uni – photo Iain Dalton

UCU members have been out at the University of Bradford on Wednesday & Thursday as part of the national dispute over pay and casualisation. Despite the weather, a dozen pickets were present on the second day when Socialist Party members locally visited the picket line.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party West Yorkshire Organiser

Many of the pickets talked about ongoing job reviews at the University which they believed were designed to cut staff pay, by making job descriptions more vague. Other pickets talked about how with the union they had challenged this procedure, in some cases forcing the university to recognise additional duties they were undertkaing and increase pay!

Tish, one of the UCU reps at the University, spoke to us about her concerns over education in general, including her local school which has been turned into an academy. The common theme in all the Tories plans for education, is increasing marketisation of the sector.

UCU pickets at Bradford University – photo Iain Dalton

Education First?

On Tuesday 4th November, Hanson Academy in Bradford sent over 150 pupils home for failing to wear school uniform matching its newly enforced standards. These include minutae about the colour of the socks children wear, type of trousers, colour of shoe laces etc.

Angry parents took to the school’s facebook page to complain, one who had accidentally put her daughters tie in the wash, sent her to school with money for a replacement but she was sent home anyway! But given how tight incomes are at present, many parents can’t simply afford to replace school uniform that was perfectly fine until this week.

The Principal, Elizabeth Churlton made the absurd statement in defence of the policy on the school website that “Our uniform and dress codes set the tone for our community and provide the scaffolding for high standards in every aspect of school life” Surely the scaffolding for high standards should be good quality teaching?

However, Churlton is financially worlds apart from the situation faced by the parents of many of her pupils. The advertisement for the post of principal when Churlton applied for the post was around £125,000 a year, whereas the median wage in Bradford East constituency (where the school is located) is less than £18,000 a year.

Academies were designed to wrest local control away from education and instead it now lays in the hands of over-paid bureaucrats like Churlton and the academy trusts behind them. Rather than prioritising a quality education, their supposed “freedom to innovate” is being used to deny education to some of the poorest students and, like the scrapping of january exams and resists, ‘manage’ their expectations for the future where under capitalism only low pay and zero hour contracts await.

Iain Dalton,
Yorkshire Socialist Students Organiser

Bradford NUT members join national strike to defend education

Bradford NUT members on the march

Bradford NUT members on the march

Around 120 striking teachers marched through the city centre in Bradford today as part of their national strike action. Cries rang out from the marchers of ‘Gove Must Go’ and ‘Defend education’ echoing the anger of NUT members at the ongoing attacks.

One teacher told me ‘We can’t not strike. Our pay is being squeezed whilst our workload continues to increase. We’re not just striking for ourselves but for the future of our profession’.

Iain Dalton